Today is the official publication date for this book of mine. Pub dates don’t really mean much; the book has been printed for over a month, it’s already in stores, and many reviews have already been written. The pub date is just an arbitrary date that exists because—well, because there has to be a moment when your book has not yet been published, and a moment when it has. So this is that moment.
I’ll quote Anne Lamott, who had this to say about pub dates in her book Bird by Bird:
“There is something mythic about the date of publication, and you actually come to believe that on this one particular morning you will wake up to a phone ringing off the hook and your publisher will be so excited that they will have hired the Blue Angels precision flying team to buzz your squalid little hovel, which you will be moving out of as soon as sales of the book really take off.”
She goes on to describe a typical pub date around her house:
“Finally the big day arrived and I woke up, happy, embarrassed in advance for all the praise that would be forthcoming. I made coffee and practiced digging my toe in the dirt, and called Pammy and a few friends to let them congratulate me. Then I waited for the phone to ring. The phone did not know its part. It sat there silent as death with a head cold. By noon the noise of it not ringing began to wear badly on my nerves.”
That’s pretty much how it’s been around here so far today. Actually, Mary Appelhof called this morning—she’s one of the earthworm experts I interviewed for the book—to tell me how much she loves the book and how glad she is that I wrote it. She didn’t know that today was the pub date (until I told her), but it was a fitting way to begin the day. The phone is silent now, and I have work to do. Tonight I’m going to meet another author who is in town promoting her book, and then—did I mention I’m the theater critic in this small town where I live?—I’ve got a play to review. It’s an excuse to get dressed up, anyway. As for the worms…well, I’ll make sure they get an extra banana skin today. Other than that, it’ll be an ordinary day for them, too.